Flash in the Pantry: The Beach by Laura Stamps

I turn another page. To an article. About the beach. Specifically, how to walk your dog. At the beach. Okay. This I know. Not about walking dogs. But the beach. That’s what I know. Now. But not always. When I left my husband. Ten years ago. When I got in my car and began to drive. Through one state. And then another. And another. And another. Driving, driving, driving. I finally reached the ocean. And that’s when I stopped. Not that the ocean was my destination. It wasn’t. There was no destination. Just escape. I stopped because I was driving a car. Not a boat. And cars don’t float. Actually, I’d never seen the ocean before. Or the beach. I mean, there isn’t an ocean or beach in Kansas City. And that’s where I’m from. But now I’m at the ocean. On the coast of North Carolina. Far away from Missouri. And my husband. (Thank God!). So I decided to stay. Here. In Wilmington. But just for a while. Not long. Just a little while. I found an apartment. And a job at a beachwear store. Selling bathing suits to tourists. Selling tacky souvenirs made from seashells. Selling t-shirts. And I still work there. Ten years later. Believe it or not. Selling beachwear to summer tourists. Selling golf paraphernalia to winter tourists. What can I say? I like it. It’s a job. It’s fun. And it pays the bills. Speaking of beachwear. And the store. We received a shipment of t-shirts this week. Lots of new designs. And one is a Chihuahua. Really cute. I’ve been pretending it’s Max. My imaginary dog. I should use my employee discount. Get some of those Chihuahua t-shirts. In different colours. One for every day of the week. Just for fun. To wear. To work. I mean, why not? They really do look like Max. And he’s such a good dog. My Max. My imaginary dog. Now I can pretend I walk him on the beach too. Thanks to this article. In this dog magazine. But okay. Enough of that. Enough pretending. My lunch break is almost over. Got to get back to the store. And selling, selling, selling.

Laura Stamps loves to play with words and create experimental forms for her fiction and prose poetry. Author of 43 novels, novellas, short story collections, and poetry books. Most recently: CAT MANIA (Alien Buddha Press 2021), DOG DAZED (Kittyfeather Press 2022), and THE GOOD DOG (Prolific Pulse Press 2023). Winner of the Muses Prize. Recipient of 7 Pushcart Prize nominations.  

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